by John Calvin (compiled by John H. Kromminga)
Rebuke not an elder, hut intreat him as a father; and the young men as brethren. —I Timothy 5:1
Though we speak to them who have charge of teaching, showing them what their duty is toward the people, yet this admonition belongs to us all. For if we are gently dealt with when we have done amiss, and feel that we are kindly handled, and that others seek our salvation; if we should play the rebels we should not show that unkindness to any man, but to God whom we despise, and grieve his Holy Spirit as much as we are able.
And why? Because we see that God has appointed this agency, so that we should profit in his doctrine and not be hardened in our sins. He will not have our sins covered and lie smothering so that they may not be known, nor found fault with. And therefore God will not have men use such flattering, for that creates a rottenness which can never be healed.
But he will have sins reproved, he will have us beaten down; yes, though sins be lovingly and gently reproved, yet if we cannot endure such loving admonitions when they are made to us, this is not to despise men, but to make war against God.
If this were well observed, we would see another obedience than we do. For no man can now endure to have his fault told him, but as soon as a man opens his mouth to reprove someone, then begins an open war, then we have deadly hatred.
And why? Because we do not consider that to refuse the admonitions that are made us in God's name, and by his commandment, is to resist God. And therefore we must take so much the more notice of this place, where we are told that God will not have sins nourished by acting as if we do not see them, but that we must be corrected gently and modestly.
And we have yet another point to gather out of this place, namely that as we are all commanded to reprove and rebuke our neighbors, so we follow the rule that is stated here, that because all correction is sharp and loathsome, we moderate it, and sweeten it the best we can, that it may be the better received and profit more. —Sermons
John Calvin was the premier theologian of the Reformation, but also a pious and godly Christian pastor who endeavored throughout his life to point men and women to Christ. We are grateful to Reformation Heritage Books for permission to use John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart as our daily devotional for 2013 on the OPC Web site. You can currently obtain a printed copy of that book from Reformation Heritage Books.
Dr. Joel Beeke, who is editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, has this to say:
"Calvin shows us the piety of a Reformed theologian who speaks from the heart. Having tasted the goodness and grace of God in Jesus Christ, he pursued piety by seeking to know and do God’s will every day. He communed with Christ, practicing repentance, self-denial, and cross-bearing. Moreover, his theology worked itself out in heart-felt, Christ-honoring piety. The selections of this devotional bear this out, and hopefully will be used by God to direct pious hearts in our own day."
These devotional readings from John Calvin were compiled by John H. Kromminga. Be sure to read his "Introduction" to John Calvin's Thine Is My Heart.